BOHOL - Rescuers on Wednesday raced to reach isolated communities in earthquake-devastated Bohol province, as aftershocks tormented survivors and the death toll surpassed 150.
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Bohol, Cebu province and Siquijor Island in Central Visayas on Tuesday morning, toppling bridges, tearing down centuries-old churches and triggering landslides that engulfed entire homes.
President Aquino and Cabinet officials visited Bohol Wednesday to distribute relief goods and inspect the damage firsthand.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) told a late afternoon news conference on Wednesday that more than 3 million people from Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor were affected by the earthquake.
The towns of Loon and Maribojoc in Bohol, the epicenter of the quake, were isolated after bridges collapsed and landslides rendered roads impassable, the council said.
The two towns could be reached only by sea, it said.
By Wednesday afternoon, the death toll had climbed to more than 150.
Reynaldo Balido, spokesman for the NDRRMC, said more bodies were found under the rubble of collapsed buildings, including a hospital in Bohol.
First responders retrieved the bodies of two persons from the rubble of Cong. Nicasio P. Castillo Sr. Memorial Hospital in Bohol, he said.
Balido said the death toll was 144-134 in Bohol, nine in Cebu and one in Siquijor.
But the Bohol Provincial Police Office reported 144 deaths in Bohol, with Loon town having the most number of fatalities at 42.
In the town of Jetafe, the police said there were two fatalities; Clarin, four; Buenavista, two; Calape, five; Tubigon, seven; Balilihan, five; Inabanga, four; Batuan, one; Sagbayan, nine; Baclayon, one; the capital Tagbilaran City, four; Loay, two; Alburquerque, two; Maribojoc, 15; Bilar, six; Cortes, two; Catigbian, four; Antequera, 13; San Isidro, 10; Talibon, one; Trinidad, one; Danao, two; and Sierra Bullones, one.
Of those who died, 14 remained unidentified.
PO3 Carl John Legazpi, Bohol Police Office operations clerk, said 186 people were injured and 22 were missing, believed to be trapped in their homes.
"We are hoping they are still alive and will be found soon," Balido said.
Executive Director Eduardo del Rosario of the NDRRMC said some of the missing may not be trapped in their homes but could be in hospitals.